Homelifts manufacturer Stiltz Homelifts has had one of its through-floor passenger lifts specially installed in the European Astronaut Centre to help a dog develop its skills in preparation for the first ever space dog walk.
Following in the footsteps of legendary British astronaut Tim Peake, the UK’s latest space hero destined for a mission to the International Space Station has four legs instead of two.
Aptly named hound Apollo, beat over 4,000 dog applicants to take the first ever canine place in the modern era of ESA astronaut training. The selection process included taking tests to assess intelligence, obedience and fitness – three-year-old Apollo passed all with flying colours. Short-haired Pointer Apollo will be the first dog to reach orbit since 1957 when the legendary Soviet mongrel Laika launched in Sputnik 2.
As part of Apollo’s initial training, he has already got to grips with operating simple controls which will be mission-critical for work onboard the ISS. At the European Astronaut Centre, a through-floor domestic passenger lift from Stiltz Homelifts has been specially installed in one of the astronaut classrooms to teach Apollo self-navigation and decision making.
With the ability to ‘lift off’ and ‘land’ on his own, the hound is now developing his skills further for experiments in orbit to find out how zero gravity affects animals both physically and cognitively. Training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Texas will be next – in preparation for the first ever space dog walk.
Yola Mealing, Head of Marketing at Stiltz says: “The Stiltz directors and staff are all really excited that our homelift product is being used in such a ground-breaking and high profile project”.
Tim Peake will be remembered for all his amazing achievements in space, including running the London Marathon on the ISS treadmill – however space-pup Apollo will be sure to give him a run for his money!
A video of the dog being put through its paces can be viewed here.
Stiltz Homelifts has already had a great start to the year after having made its debut in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. Ranking 43rd, the inclusion was regarded as a significant achievement for Stiltz as the 2021 league table also highlights the important contribution that private companies have made during the pandemic.
The news followed a successful year of trading which led to the manufacturer reporting a significant increase in turnover for the year ended 31 December 2019 as its revenues hit £20.2 million.